Before Game 5 against the Philadelphia 76ers, the Boston Celtics were 7.5-point home favorites; nevertheless, they lost by a score of 12.
The Sixers outworked and outhustled them on both ends of the court, opening up the Celtics’ lack of effort once more. They eventually led by as many as 21 points.
But according to Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla, this was actually their first poor performance in the postseason.
“That was our first really, really bad game of the playoffs.”
Joe Mazzulla on Game 5 loss to Sixers pic.twitter.com/bjQ2eXleqW
Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) May 10, 2023
Mazzulla noted that they failed to start the game with intensity and maintained that effort throughout, although he didn’t appear overly concerned about it.
Actually, for the entire campaign, his team’s only two problems have been consistency and a lack of effort, so this is nothing new.
The Atlanta Hawks should have been defeated by the Boston Celtics in just five games, and some could even say that they ought to have swept them, but that didn’t happen.
They dropped the ball again at home after failing to stop James Harden against a Sixers team that was missing its greatest player and the NBA MVP.
This Celtics squad is extremely skilled and deep, but occasionally it seems like it lacks focus.
Their 1A and 1B, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, have obviously played exceptionally well throughout the playoffs.
But what about in-game changes, lineup modifications, and plays made after a timeout?
Despite the team’s success under Mazzulla’s leadership, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Brad Stevens take a different path in the offseason if they fail to defeat the Sixers in this series.